What Does Blood Spill Kit Mean?
A blood spill kit is a kit used for cleaning and disinfecting sites where blood has been spilled. Blood spill kits may also include biohazard containers for safe disposal of sharps, blood, or body fluid related contaminants.
In some cases, a spills kit may refer to any set of equipment that is designed to clean blood spills. However, it usually refers to a disposable or semi-disposable kit used in areas with limited access to cleaning materials.
Safeopedia Explains Blood Spill Kit
A blood spill kit is not simply a generic spill kit that is used to clean up blood. The equipment necessary to safely clean and disinfect blood spills can be significantly different than the equipment necessary to clean up other chemical hazards.
Although most blood spill kits include personal disinfectants (such as hand sanitizer and skin wipes), they cannot be relied upon as a full disinfecting solution. Individuals who use blood spill kits are subject to a variety of hazardous and medical waste exposure regulations which can vary significantly depending on the nature of the exposure as well as the associated risk.
Contents of a Blood Spill Kill
According to Victoria Health, a blood spill kit typically includes the following:
- Leak-proof bags or containers for disposing of blood-contaminated materials.
- A scraper and pan for handling blood-soaked items.
- A material to cover, absorb, or solidify blood, such as a granular formation or powder. These commonly contain chlorine or another disinfecting agent.
- PPE, such as eye protection, gloves, a face mask, and an apron.
Where possible, the disposable parts of a blood spill kit should be destroyed by incineration. If a kit part is non-disposable, it is necessary to put it through a sterilization treatment after use. If industrial sterilization is not available, chemical sterilization processes that require lengthy immersion (~1 hour) in a caustic chemical solution (e.g., sodium hydroxide, a.k.a. caustic soda/lye) should be used.
The use of caustic soda and other harsh chemicals as a mandatory part of spill cleaning procedures becomes necessary in settings at high risk for specific pathogens. For instance, mortuary workers are at an elevated risk of Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease (CJD), a fatal neurological disorder, and therefore must use chemicals such as caustic soda as a disinfecting measure.
Blood Spill Kits in the Workplace
Spill kits are used in any occupational setting in which there is an expected or high-risk of a blood spill. This includes medical settings, but also various types of cosmetic workplaces—training in the preparation and use of blood spill kits may be part of a mandatory part of the cosmetology licensing process.
The primary purpose of a blood spill kit is to ensure that workplaces are prepared for quick and efficient cleaning and disposal of blood contaminants.
Blood spills are considered to be high-risk hazards due to their potential to contain high-risk pathogens such as HIV and Hepatitis. Due to this high risk level, the handling of blood spills is usually regulated by multiple regulatory standards. In the United States, this includes OSHA’s hazardous waste standards, as well as its bloodborne pathogens standard. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) also has various relevant regulations, such as its medical waste disposal regulations, that must be followed.
Many jurisdictions regulate blood spill-related issues at the subnational (state, provincial, local) level. This includes the United States, which regulates hazardous waste at federal, state, and local levels. For example, the state of Kansas has specific blood exposure rules for cosmetology practitioners.
OSHA does not specify the use of blood spill kits; however, their proper use may be considered when OSHA evaluates a workplace for its compliance with various other standards, such as its Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response standard. OSHA’s emergency response standards include requirements that every employee who would be involved in cleaning up a hazardous waste be properly trained in how to do so; a requirement that includes the proper use of blood spill kits where applicable.